2018 Charteris Dawson Vineyard Riesling
The Dawson Vineyard
16th March 2018
8.9 g/l TA
24th July 2018
Intense Lime with guava and ripe finger limes with hints of lavender and gardenia. Crystalline white florals and a hint of blue and purple flowerbeds. Some very subtle mango Weiss bar over light herbal hints with lemon verbena and spearmint, almost Alpine herb like. The palate is full with a generous texture and wide silky texture, softer acidity adding a slippery line. Very round and plush with gentle phenolic drive across the background acidity. The acid is set well back into the structural phenolics giving latent power on the finish. Layered and textured with a definitive 2018 vintage stamp.
On the heels of the cool and low yielding 2017 vintage, 2018 will go down as the earliest vintage on record to date, with harvest starting one month early in many of the vineyards in Central Otago. Searing January temperatures had most of New Zealanders feeling like they were somewhere in the Australian Outback and the sight of tourists flocking to the shallows of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown was without a doubt unusual. In the vineyard the warm spring and almost instant start to summer had the vines working at maximum capacity from day one. An important metric to measure seasonal variation is the Growing Degree Days (GDD) recorded over the growing season (Sept to April). This is a measure of warmth in the season and therefore the rate at which plants and insects will grow. 2018 was about 30% above the long term average hence the early start to harvest. The wines from 2018 show a generosity and richness that stands out for us, acidity is gentle and flavour abundant. These are wines that challenged our Viticultural know-how and our winemaking acumen. The results, however, speak for themselves and while different, they are wines that are very hard to keep in your glass.
The 2018 vintage will be remembered for the heat and veracity of the summer and the way it tested our winemaking acumen. Key Phenological dates shook the foundations of what we expect with grape growing in Central Otago and how we deal with extremes. Were it not for the cooler February we may well have picked earlier that we did. Challenging conditions call for careful thought and considered actions, with cool heads prevailing some wines of exceptional depth and concentration have resulted. These wines are abundant and full of volume with texture and length.